What to look out for

RISKSA Magazine - - Medical -

data, mod­i­fy­ing, copy­ing or dis­rupt­ing data. Un­like viruses and worms, a tro­jan isn’t able to self-repli­cate. A com­puter virus or worm on the other hand, can self-repli­cate on com­put­ers and through com­puter net­works. These viruses can spread very rapidly, and there are many types that can cause a lot of dam­age. The re­search team at Kasper­sky pro­cesses 325 000 new ma­li­cious files ev­ery day, up 10 000 a day com­pared to last year, and 125 000 a day more than in 2012. A se­cu­rity so­lu­tion to stop both known and un­known viruses is es­sen­tial, says Saad. “A sure way of know­ing that your com­puter or server has a virus is if it starts do­ing things it doesn’t nor­mally do,” says Ollewa­gen. “The com­puter may be slow or not work­ing at all, it may also be get­ting er­ror mes­sages that you haven’t seen be­fore.” The sys­tem slows dra­mat­i­cally be­cause the mal­ware runs pro­cesses in the back­ground. Ollewa­gen ex­plains that what the virus does, is firstly at­tempt to dis­able any anti-virus soft­ware on the com­puter and then spread to any ac­ces­si­ble pro­gram on your ma­chine incog­nito. When you even­tu­ally find the orig­i­nal in­fected file it has made copies of it­self. “In gen­eral a lot of mal­ware hides it­self, so it’s bet­ter to have a se­cu­rity so­lu­tion run­ning or check­ing your sys­tem for viruses,” says Saad. The per­cep­tion that Mac is im­mune to mal­ware is bo­gus, Ollewa­gen warns. No com­puter sys­tem is com­pletely im­mune. A Mac is safer than a Win­dows op­er­at­ing sys­tem, but it’s still sus­cep­ti­ble. Ollewa­gen says the new­est op­er­at­ing sys­tems from Mac will, how­ever, pick up on most tro­jans out there. Saad says the Win­dows op­er­at­ing sys­tem, like An­droid for smart­phones, is wide­spread and is, there­fore, an easy tar­get, whereas it used to be more of an ef­fort to write mal­ware for Mac. “In 2012 the first known mal­ware, Flash­flake, for Mac was dis­cov­ered. It used Java ex­ploits that did not re­quire user in­ter­ac­tion to in­fect com­put­ers,” says Saad. The ar­gu­ment for Mac is also moot when you con­sider that In­ter­net threats such as phish­ing show no predilec­tion for an op­er­at­ing sys­tem on your com­puter. As more peo­ple are turn­ing to Macs, cy­ber­crim­i­nals are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly in­ter­ested in this op­er­at­ing sys­tem, says Saad. Saad says Macs also need ac­cess to web re­sources, mail, flash drives and so forth, thus many ap­proaches to pre­vent­ing mal­ware in­fec­tion on Win­dows sys­tems can be adopted and im­ple­mented in Mac en­vi­ron­ments as it serves a sim­i­lar pur­pose in this re­gard.

Watch your­self!

Here are the dos and don’ts as listed by the pros: Avoid any web­site that prompts you to in­stall an un­known codec, plugin or cer­tifi­cate that will en­able you to use that site, says Ollewa­gen. “Be­ware of mis­lead­ing ne­far­i­ous pop-ups that in­form you of a virus or that there’s some­thing wrong with your com­puter as these are de­signed to mimic the look of le­git­i­mate An­tiVius soft­ware but will ac­tu­ally in­stall ad­ware,” says Ollewa­gen. Don’t down­load cracked copies of com­mer­cial soft­ware from Tor­rent sites, says Ollewa­gen, as these of­ten con­tain viruses. “Only down­load essen­tials with a cor­po­rate brand such as Flash Player from the ac­tual devel­oper’s site and not from in­ter­me­di­ary sites.” Saad warns users to never open at­tach­ments in e-mails that claim you have won money or stat­ing it con­tains some­thing of in­ter­est, es­pe­cially when the e-mail is from an un­known sender. “In fact, never open links in e-mails from un­known senders as it could be a phish­ing at­tack,” he says. “Ad­di­tion­ally, a phish­ing at­tack of­ten oc­curs when a user opens a link. Make sure that the text of the link you clicked on stays on the ac­tual web­site and that the text in your URL box in your browser doesn’t change to some­thing ran­dom. This is com­monly known as a phish­ing at­tack and it is very ef­fec­tive as it uses so­cial en­gi­neer­ing tac­tics to lure users to a honey­pot,” says Saad. “Avoid down­load­ing from peer to peer web­sites un­less you know what you are do­ing. Avoid ac­cess­ing ran­dom flash drives handed to you,” says Saad. “When you are vis­it­ing sites for pay­ments or en­ter­ing your cre­den­tials, make sure the web­site starts with ‘ https’ and a lock sign is vis­i­ble in your browser. Also be care­ful when you ac­cess web­sites with your cre­den­tials; avoid con­nect­ing to un­knownor open WiFi hotspots with­out the pro­tec­tion from a se­cu­rity so­lu­tion,” he says.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.